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"Ben and Kate"

 "Ben and Kate"

Credit: Fox

Press Tour: FOX stars Mindy Kaling, Lucas Neff and more imitate co-stars, compare perks

A sitcom panel gets Nat Faxon and others a chance to riff

FOX pulled together some of their sitcom line-up's top talent --- Ike Barinholtz, Mindy Kaling, Jake Johnson, Zooey Deschanel, Nat Faxon, Echo Kellum, Lucas Neff and Shannon Woodward -- to talk about their shows ("The Mindy Project," "New Girl," "Ben and Kate," "Raising Hope") with a possibly punchy group of journalists at press tour. The results, while not sitcom-worthy, were often amusing and, less frequently, informative. 

Things started off slowly. When questions were slow to start, Deschanel ("New Girl") started pointing to people in the audience. "Am I supposed to call on people?" she asked. 

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Watch Nelly Furtado's worldly 'Waiting for the Night' video

Watch Nelly Furtado's worldly 'Waiting for the Night' video

Around the (Latin) world

Nelly Furtado takes you around the world in black-and-white in her new video for "Waiting for the Night."

The clip itself works through some geographic discplacement, as Furtado and her team of dancers don the looks of Dia de los Muertos revelers, and working their way through the tango, flamenco and tribal dance. That poor accordionist only has to sit there, the dear.

Perhaps its with my own bias that I request that all divas-in-wait blast the hell out of their songs with their vocals, but Furtado seems unchallenged in this dance-driven bit. She hangs out around Madonna range, which drives a little fear into me that this song ought to have just been sung by Madonna.

No matter: "Waiting for the Night" is already out and on Furtado's latest "Spirit Indestructible."

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<p>Tom&nbsp;Hooper and Hugh Jackman on the set of &quot;Les Mis&eacute;rables&quot;</p>

Tom Hooper and Hugh Jackman on the set of "Les Misérables"

Credit: Universal Pictures

DGA nominees reactions

This morning's fortunate souls had the following to say

It's been one of the most competitive Oscar seasons in recent history, and that competition has also spread to the Best Director category. Five lucky helmers made it through with the Directors Guild today, but left off the list were talented craftsmen like Quentin Tarantino ("Django Unchained"), Paul Thomas Anderson ("The Master"), Wes Anderson ("Moonrise Kingdom") and Michael Haneke ("Amour"), as well as shepherds of awards season successes such as David O. Russell ("Silver Linings Playbook"), Benh Zeitlin ("Beasts of the Southern Wild") and Sam Mendes ("Skyfall"). A very good year indeed.

All of this morning's nominees have released statements reacting to their good fortune today. The work ranges from CIA thrillers to journo-cinema, Presidential epics to bombastic musicals, and a little 3D razzle dazzle thrown in for good measure. Read what they all had to say below.

The 65th annual DGA Awards will be held in Hollywood on February 2, 2013.

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<p>In hindsight, would FOX&nbsp;have been better off promoting just &quot;New Girl&quot; in the fall rather than the entire Tuesday comedy bloc. </p>

In hindsight, would FOX have been better off promoting just "New Girl" in the fall rather than the entire Tuesday comedy bloc.

Credit: FOX

Press Tour: FOX's president on Tuesday comedies, 'Glee,' edginess & more

Kevin Reilly wants to 'put a little of the FOX back in FOX'

It's been a Freaky Friday week here at press tour. On Sunday, NBC made its first tour appearance in years where it had ratings numbers to brag about, which network boss Robert Greenblatt did at some length. FOX, meanwhile, is likely about to see the end of a long streak of being the first place network on television among adults 18-49, thanks to a dismal fall in which "X Factor" dipped, the Tuesday comedy bloc couldn't get off the ground, and "Mob Doctor"(*) would have been canceled after two weeks if FOX had anything on the bench to replace it with. So this time it was FOX entertainment president Kevin Reilly who wasted no time with prepared remarks, saying, "Nobody's happier than us to get ourselves into a fresh year" before opening it up to reporters' questions within the first 30 seconds of hie executive session.

(*) In the post-executive session scrum, Reilly called "Mob Doctor" "the worst title in the history of the world." Shawn Ryan and the rest of the gang from "Terriers" might beg to differ. 

Fienberg has a thorough play by play of what was said in his  live-blog, so I'm just going to touch on a few interesting themes and tidbits from both the panel and the scrum afterwards.

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<p>Luke Bryan</p>

Luke Bryan

Luke Bryan set to join Blake Shelton as ACMs co-host

Bryan replaces Reba McEntire at country music awards show

Blake Shelton will have help hosting the Academy of Country Music Awards on April 7.

Shelton has co-hosted the ACMs with Reba McEntire for the past two years after joining the long-time solo host in 2011. McEntire announced that she will no longer be co-hosting in the fall, leaving speculation that Shelton would go it alone until a few days ago when it was announced he would have a co-host and the guessing games began.

Now it turns out that Luke Bryan will join him to emcee the awards ceremony, which airs live from the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas. We doubt he’ll look as lovely as McEntire in an evening gown. Bryan definitely brings a younger, boys-club vibe to the proceedings.

In other ACM news, Brad Paisley will host the Fan Jam, which runs concurrently with the ACM telecast and features acts performing live in a free show. Remote footage from the Fan Jam is cut into the television portion.

Additionally, as has been the case for the past four years, the night after the ACMs, the Academy and Dick Clark Productions will tape a themed night featuring many of country’s biggest names for a special that will air later in the Spring. Last year’s special was basically an infomercial for Lionel Richie’s “Tuskegee” album. Years past have included salutes to George Strait and Brooks & Dunn.

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<p>Devendra Banhart's &quot;Mala&quot; cover</p>

Devendra Banhart's "Mala" cover

Credit: Devendra Banhart/Nonesuch

Listen: Devendra Banhart details new album and reveals new song

Listen to songwriter narrate a short Tim Maia documentary

Devendra Banhart has released a groovy, small-sized track in anticipation of his forthcoming new album "Mala."

You can hear "Für Hildegard von Bingen" via Pitchfork. Gone are Banhart's front-mixed vocals, intense with his idiosyncratic trill; instead, it's an easy, funky low-lying song about a Catholic saint from the 12th century.

"In my head there was this little movie, an alternative universe, I guess - Hildegard is sequestered in her cloister, and one day she gets a VHS cassette and it's the prime era of the MTV VJ, and she just goes wild. 'That’s it for me,' she says. 'That's how I'm going to get my message across.' So she escapes the cloister… and becomes a VJ," Banhart says of the song in a release.

"Mala" -- which is an Eastern European term for "dear one" or its approximate pet name -- will drop on March 12, through Banhart's new label home at Nonesuch. It was recorded at Banhart's house in L.A. and is the follow-up to 2009's "What Will We Be."

The aesthetic of this lovely, looping track may be influenced by another recent project from Banhart. The songwriter and artist was the narrator on animated short documentary "The Existential Adventures of Tim Maia," which is a fun chronicle of the Brazilian soul legend. The vid arrived around the same time Luaka Bop was promoting the first worldwide release of Maia's music, "World Psychedelic Classics 4: Nobody Can Live Forever: The Existential Sound of Tim Maia." I've listened to this set no less than 20 times and it is an awesome reissue.

Here is the tracklist for "Mala":

  1. Golden Girls
  2. Daniel
  3. Für Hildegard von Bingen
  4. Never Seen Such Good Things
  5. Mi Negrita
  6. Your Fine Petting Duck
  7. The Ballad of Keenan Milton
  8. A Gain
  9. Won’t You Come Over
  10. Cristobal Risquez
  11. Hatchet Wound
  12. Mala
  13. Won’t You Come Home
  14. Taurobolium
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<p>Ben Affleck on the set of &quot;Argo&quot;</p>

Ben Affleck on the set of "Argo"

Credit: Warner Bros. Pictures

'Argo' wins with Denver film critics

Actor prizes for the usual

Back and forth between "Argo" and "Zero Dark Thirty" as the former has claimed another Best Picture prize, this time from the Denver Film Critics Society. Ben Affleck also took Best Director, while the acting categories followed the template: Daniel Day-Lewis, Jennifer Lawrence, Philip Seymour Hoffman and Anne Hathaway. Check out the full list of winners below and keep track of it all via The Circuit.

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<p>Kevin Reilly</p>

Kevin Reilly

Credit: FOX

Press Tour 2013 Live-Blog: FOX Executive Session with Kevin Reilly

Expect 'Idol,' 'Mob Doctor' and 'Following' violence questions

After two busy panels for "The Following" and "American Idol," it's time for the TCA press tour to meet with FOX Entertainment Chairman Kevin Reilly. FOX is down steeply year-to-year, so we'll see how heated things get about failures like "The Mob Doctor" and the relative disappointment of the rebooted "The X Factor." 

Click through for the full live-blog...

11:59 a.m. Reilly begins by admitted that FOX limped at the end of last year. And he hopes for better this year.

12:00 p.m. The first question is about "Bones" and whether it will be renewed. There's a renewal notice sitting in front of each of us. So this is awkward.

12:00 p.m. "There is more choice, more quality more breadth of quality," Reilly says of the TV landscape after saying that he wants us to continue to ask questions about the ratings system. There are so many opportunities and ways to watch and marathon TV. He's particularly bitter about people who chose to marathon "Breaking Bad" during FOX premiere week. He notes that there are  a lot of shows that can attract niche viewership, but FOX is in "a hit driven business" and he notes that FOX is suffering from not developing a hit this past year.

12:03 p.m. Kevin Reilly thinks the Britney Spears experiment went "very, very well" and that "people remain fascinated with her and always will be." He notes that "maybe some people were waiting for more drastic" behavior, but he calls "The X Factor" "a better show" in its second season. "She tucked in really nicely on that bench," Reilly says, but he refuses to say whether or not Britney is going to return. He says that FOX is on board with Britney returning, but Simon Cowell has been on vacation.

12:05 p.m. "You have to absorb everything. We're in the culture business," Reilly says of how FOX has been impacted by tragedies in Connecticut and Colorado. "We both reflect society and at times we try to drive it." He says that "I think you can't be reactionary and I think you can't make a direct linkage," but admits that it's on his mind. Regarding people who say that the level of violence has grown excessive, Reilly says that he's just a part of a large media landscape. "It's a more complex conversation. I think it trivializes to link it to television or broadcast television specifically," he says, but he says, again, that these things are on his mind. "The conversation is a complex one and a broad one," he deflects.


12:07 p.m. The reporter who asked about "Bones" apologizes for the goof early. Reilly is very accommodating "Look at my fall," Reilly says amiably. 

12:08 p.m. "I think there have been more violent shows on television," Reilly says of "The Following," saying that we may care more about this one because of its quality. He says they haven't had to fight over anything with the Standards department. "Before there was cable, FOX was cable," Reilly says, recalling the days when FOX was "the edge of what was bold." He reminds us that they aren't just competing with network shows anymore, since "The Walking Dead" is TV's most watched show anywhere among young viewers. "We must match the intensity, otherwise we're going to be a pale comparison," Reilly says.

12:10 p.m. Reilly says, however, that competing with cable isn't just about violence and intensity, though when you're doing a thriller, you have to compete on that level. He notes that FOX has lots of different things, including upbeat comedies, popular family shows and broader shows. However, when putting on a thriller... Yeah. Reilly flashes back to 1993 when he was on the road doing focus groups. At that time, "NYPD Blue" was being marketed around its pushing of content barriers. He remembers being in Kansas City and meeting a little old lady, who says she loved "NYPD Blue." He found this notable and I'm not sure why. "Part of what we do on television is provide escapism. Escapism comes in many forms," Reilly says, claiming that escapism, fantasy and witnessing our biggest fears all count as "escapism." "When we are doing a thriller and we're doing a cop story, you have to compete on that level of intensity," he closes.

12:13 p.m. Are the standards for television different for "intensity"? "Intensity is a vague thing to measure. That's a subjective measurement. We do take it into account," Reilly says, claiming that they're marketing this particular show to a particular audience and "at a certain point the audience selects and they know what they're getting and what they're not getting." He says that comedies self-select similarly.

12:15 p.m. FOX is not going to air the episodes of "In Living Color" that they shot. "It just didn't seem like it was going to reinvent the next chapter," he says. Boo. I did a set visit and interviewed the whole new cast. Regarding "Goodwin Games," Reilly admits to disappointment with how the Tuesday comedies do in the fall. He thinks audiences worry about "too much churn." Traditionally, FOX has programmed with 'a lot of churn." He notes that audiences are waiting to see what sticks before committing. "I'm creatively very happy with what's happening in that block," he says of Tuesday. "'Goodwin Games' is a nice show. I'm not sure if it's going to improve our lot ratings-wise," he says. So the plan is to maintain consistency and "Goodwin Games" will pop up in the summer.

12:17 p.m. A question about "Stars in Danger" and whether they want ratings or just to damage ABC's similar diving show. "You get no points for damaging someone else," Reilly says, claiming they expect ratings. "It's all fair. Ours was ready earlier. We put it on the air. It's a one-time special. If it works, it'll be back," he says. Reilly says FOX had an airdate. So that's where it went.

12:19 p.m. "I liked it. You didn't like it?" Reilly asks a reporter who didn't like "So You Think You Can Dance" as a once-a-week show. Mike Darnell, from the back of the room, says that once a week worked. "We liked the momentum of having the payoff within the body of the show itself," Reilly says. 

12:20 p.m. "The metrics are something we're spending a lot of time on, measurement," Reilly says. Lots of people are watching FOX outside of their monetizable window. He mentions streaming, VoD and over-the-top services. He expects that "The Following" will get "a resounding vote early on." Reilly calls "The Following" fantastic. But comedy is a different issue. He recalls that back in the day, comedies weren't star-driven, they were shows that made stars. He says that comedies often start low and grow. Because of DVRs, it's harder to create flow and to get viewers to settle in for comedy blocks. "Our shows weren't rejected. They weren't even really sampled," Reilly laments. "That means they're either rolling over it on the DVR, or they haven't gotten it on their radar," Reilly says. He feels that viewers have more urgency to view dramas than comedies.

12:24 p.m. Back to Reilly saying that there's a "broader discussion" about violence on television and society. Does he think this discussion will happen? Not... really. Exactly. Why not? People love violence. "Clearly there's an appetite. Let's say this for a fact," Reilly wants to note. "That's the business we're in of providing things that people like," he adds. He welcomes any study that will further "a constructive dialogue." "In complex matters, we all like a scapegoat," he says. 

12:26 p.m. Is FOX looking for a new genre-type program with "Fringe" departing? Reilly says FOX has always been in that business. "We've had some bad false starts and broken some hearts," he says, but they still want to be there. 

12:27 p.m. Reilly cites our country's Puritan roots for why we have a greater tolerance for violent content than sexual content. 


12:29 p.m. "I really like the consistency of the work," Reilly says of "Glee," calling the dual-setting world "high risk." FOX saw interruption on 18 of the first 38 days of the fall, which is an excuse for some of FOX's struggles.

12:30 p.m. Back to "The Following"... What is FOX's strategy with the time slot. "We have two hours of programming. We put it in the latest time slot we had," he says, also referencing a history of success for "propulsive" hits on Monday, which he dubs "Macho Monday."

12:31 p.m. What was his reaction to NBC scheduling an episode of "The Voice" against the "X Factor" premiere? "It went in the file for later reference. The score will be settled at some point. I don't know when," Reilly says, calling it "slightly on the cheesy side."

That's all, folks...




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<p>Tom Waits</p>

Tom Waits

Listen: Tom Waits and Keith Richards release a swarthy cover of 'Shenandoah'

Sea chantey album gets a bawler

You can't have a sea chantey without the term "swarthy," can you? To acquiesce to the aural demands of a pirate ballad collection is Tom Waits and Rolling Stones' Keith Richards, gently and collectively covering "Shenandoah."

The folk classic is included on "Son Of Rogues Gallery," the sequel, as it were, to 2006's "Rogues Gallery: Pirate Ballads, Sea Songs, and Chanteys"; it's out Feb. 19 via Waits' label ANTI-.

The first double-CD set featured songs from Richard Thompson and Nick Cave. This newest double-album edition contains "Shenandoah," plus covers from Iggy Pop, Nick Cave, Patti Smith, Sean Lennon, Shane McGowan (see below) and more.

Richards and Waits were featured together on another recent set: on Waits' 2011 album "Bad As Me," the two combined on four much more rockin' originals, including epic "Hell Broke Luce" and Rolling Stones-nodding "Satisfied."

Listen to Waits and Richards' "Shenandoah" via NPR's All Songs Considered, here.

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Lily Rabe in "American Horror Story"

 Lily Rabe in "American Horror Story"

Credit: FX

'American Horror Story''s Lily Rabe talks dancing, the devil and getting burned

Rabe admits that after some scenes she'd 'go home and stare at the wall'

Poor Sister Mary Eunice. The unluckiest nun (and that's saying something) of "American Horror Story" met an unhappy plot twist last week, which could be said of almost any plot twist on this FX show. Spoiler alert -- if you haven't caught up on the episodes in your DVR, stop reading now. 

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<p>Kevin Bacon in &quot;The Following.&quot;</p>

Kevin Bacon in "The Following."

Credit: FOX

Press Tour: 'The Following' panel kisses, but doesn't tell

Kevin Williamson and company didn't have a lot of insight about serial killer violence

Kevin Williamson knows more than a little about pop culture analysis. His "Scream" movies were loving deconstructions of the tropes of slasher movies, and other Williamson works like "Dawson's Creek" and the first "I Know What You Did Last Summer" movie featured plenty of meta commentary about the nature of the stories being told.

His new FOX serial killer drama "The Following," though, is played entirely straight. And when Williamson joined star Kevin Bacon and the rest of the show's cast at press tour, he was only a bit reflective of where the show fits into the long tradition of serial killers in pop culture, and not at all about what the show has to say about the many violent acts its characters commit (other than that they're horrific), and what place violent entertainment has in a post-Columbine, post-Aurora, post-Newtown world.

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<p>Your new &quot;American Idol&quot; team</p>

Your new "American Idol" team

Credit: FOX

Press Tour 2013 Live-Blog: 'American Idol' introduces Mariah, Nicki and Keith

Randy Jackson and Ryan Seacrest are here, too.

One of the biggest questions of FOX's January TCA Press Day is sure to be whether Nicki Minaj and Mariah Carey will pretend to be friendly at their first "American Idol" panel or if they'll pretend to fight. 

Will they sit next to each other?

Will they make out?

Oh, the excitement... Click through for the full live-blog...

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